Guidance on using grant and contract funds
While research computing equipment and service can be purchased with any type of funds, researchers will often wish to use funds provided by grants or contracts to carry out specific projects. In this regard, the information in this guide is provided in supplement to:
- The Office of Research’s Cost Principles, Cost Accounting and CAS Exemptions.
- The material within the myTraining course RSH270 – Award Management.
Equipment purchases and indirect cost (IDC)
The purchase of Normalized Compute Units (NCUs) i.e. compute cores and various storage options are viewed as an acquisition of hardware. In other words, the transaction is equivalent to purchasing hardware from a computer systems vendor. As a result, the grant or contract is not charged IDC (indirect cost), also known as overhead.
However, some grants and contracts do not allow the purchase of hardware. In this case, HiPerGator computing and storage can be purchased as a service. Rates are available for computing and storage as a service for periods of time in multiples of 3 months.
Advanced consultation from Research Computing staff is a service. Consulting services incur indirect cost (IDC).
Equipment lifetime and grant/contract duration
It is possible to purchase the full lifetime (5 years) of the equipment. However, this is only allowable when the grant or contract will meaningfully use the majority of the equipment lifetime. As a result, it is possible to buy 5 years’ worth of equipment at the beginning of a 3, 4, or 5 year grant. In contrast, purchasing 5 years’ worth of equipment lifetime in the final 6 months of a grant, or in the beginning of a 6 month contract, may not be allowable.
An exception to the above exists for infrastructure awards, for which it is allowable to purchase equipment lifetime that extends beyond the life of the grant.
Research Computing will prorate the cost of NCUs and storage for the allowed and agreed lifetime of the grant or contract, but prorated purchases will incur IDC.
Allowable costs beyond grant/contract duration
Some grants or contracts, like NSF and NIH Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grants, are awarded with the explicit intent that the research instrument put in place during a short period (typically 1 to 2 years) will be used for a longer lifetime (typically 5 to 10 years depending on equipment type). For computer and storage infrastructure, such grants can leverage UFIT Research Computing systems and system administration services, allowing purchases to be made beyond the life of the grant.
Increasingly, solicitations require the principal investigator (PI) to provide a detailed data management plan with a proposal that specifies how any data gathered or produced with grant or contract funds will be stored and made available to the research community for some amount of time after the grant or contract ends (typically 1 to 3 years). It is allowable to purchase Research Computing storage and computing capacity (NCUs, LSUs, RSUs, RRSUs) near the end of the grant or contract to fulfill this requirement if it is explicitly mentioned in the solicitation, the proposal, and the data management plan.
Use of Funds 201 and 209
Research endeavors using Funds 201 or 209 to purchase equipment must make sure the expiration date of the grant does not exceed the service end date. Contracts & Grants does not allow charges to be processed on these funds beyond the grant expiration date listed. Any extension of the grant which covers services beyond the expiration date, or any other special circumstances, requires the approval of Contracts & Grants. Only then will it be possible to process the invoice against these funds.
The UFIT Business Center has consolidated Research Computing billing into the central UFIT billing system. Fiscal offices supporting HiPerGator equipment purchase must complete the MyUF Market Form for Research Computing to provide the Chartfield string for these services to be billed. Once a purchase is requested, the IT Business Center will reach out to new clients with additional information and instructions for this process.
Billing questions may be directed to email@example.com.